HOW TO … Pack The Ultimate Carry-On!

Upon returning from our latest vacation in Morocco, I feel like I finally have packing the ultimate carry-on pretty down pat! So no matter the duration of your flight, this packing list will ensure you have a comfortable trip!

1) The Carry-On

  • Pick a carry-on that suits your needs! My go-to is my Osprey Manta 25 L backpack – this bag has served me in 12 different countries over the past seven years. I brought this bag to the top of Kilimanjaro, to the Sahara desert, to the city of Paris, and many other exciting destinations! Why do I love this bag? It has convenient pockets, an optional hydration system, it’s narrow build allows it to wear and store easily, the waist belt has pockets, and lastly, it has a breathable mesh backing. I enjoy bringing a backpack as my carry-on because it allows me to have two free hands while navigating the airport (one for my coffee and one for my suitcase!).

2) Entertainment

  • Headphones
    • For watching in-flight movies or listening to music.
  • Phone Charger
    • Don’t forget this!!
  • Book
  • Notebook
    • I use a Midori travel book with changeable inserts to doodle, make notes, and journal during my trips. It is also great for storing mementos that you pick up along the way, as well as exchanging contact information. 
  • Pen
    • Never be caught without a pen! This is essential not only for your notebook but also for filling out customs forms. Never be that person waiting in line for a pen! 

3) Sleeping Items

  • Eye Mask
  • Neck Pillow
  • Earplugs
  • Melatonin
    • Optional if you have trouble sleeping during longer flights. 

4) Comfort Items

  • Tissues
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wet Naps
    • Always great for sticky hands or to freshen up. 
  • Empty Water bottle
    • You can fill this up in the airport once you through security – a great way to avoid paying ridiculous airport prices for a bottle of water. 
  • Snacks
    • Granola bars, nuts, etc. – again, airport prices for these items are quite excessive. 
  • Gum
  • Lip balm & eye drops
    • The air is very dry in airplanes.
  • Deodorant
  • Ibuprofen / Gravol

5) Documentation

  • Passport
    • I always make a photocopy to leave it in a separate bag.
  • Flight information, hotel information, itinerary, etc.
  • Wallet

6) Optional Items

  • Irreplaceable or fragile items
    • Laptop, camera, jewelry, prescription medications, etc.
  • External battery pack
    • For charging items on the go.
  • Change of clothes
    • Either in case of lost luggage or when traveling from somewhere cold to hot – it’s nice to have a quick change of clothes. 
  • Sunglasses
  • Make-Up

Are there any items that you would like to add from YOUR ultimate carry-on? Feel free to add it in the comments below!

Happy Travels 🙂 


Osprey Manta 25
The Ultimate Carry-On Guide!